Recently I was reading an article on business.com that got me thinking about a word that really describes the nature and vitality – as well as the huge importance of online reviews: ethical. I’ve talked before about trust and transparency and the ways that drives consumers toward businesses but the word ethical is perfect. 

In the context of the article I was reading – “How to Build Brand Authority by Leveraging Online Reviews” – ethical applies to the reviews themselves – that they are bona fide, legitimate and authenticated. That’s vital. Consumer faith in reviews has steadily grown over the past decade and now, over 90% of consumers actively look for reviews before considering purchasing goods or engaging the services of a business. But there are reviews and then there are reviews. NoCowboys, as an example, utilises both robust system platforms and good old human scrutiny before verifying a review. The reasons for that are simple – consumers need to believe in reviews as they are posted, and unfortunately, there are those around the world who attempt to exploit and countermand online review platforms.

” . . . whatever you do, ensure that asking for reviews and feedback is a part of your daily interaction with your customers. You may also want to assess your company’s reputation and analyze what you want to be known for.” (Source:”How to Build Brand Authority by Leveraging Online Reviews“)

Although the article is written in the US, the findings and conclusions still apply here in Ne Zealand. While New Zealand not have been the first country in the world to embrace online reviews, nowadays, consumer feedback is one of the main drivers of consumer engagement and a necessary component of every business’ strategy.

“With rising ad costs, smart businesses are challenging themselves to find organic ways to acquire and retain new customers.”

“In 2019, digital advertising increased by 17.6% and equated to roughly 50% of the global ad market (accounting for approximately US$333.25 billion). While the temptation is to spend more and more money on getting prospective customers in the door, this is usually a recipe for disaster. With rising ad costs, smart businesses are challenging themselves to find organic ways to acquire and retain new customers. With 90% of customers stating that their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews and 72% of those respondents saying that they trust a business more if they read positive reviews, investing time in managing your business’s brand authority is more critical today than it has ever been.” (Source: “How to Build Brand Authority by Leveraging Online Reviews“).

“Considering that a recent survey found that only 36% of small businesses invested in review marketing, it is safe to assume there is a lot of opportunity to focus in on this discipline.”

When you consider just how important it is to forge ahead in a digital marketplace, it seems unfathomable that there is still a sizable number of businesses that do not leverage their reputations – wither through ignorance, stubbornness, or adherence to outmoded and inefficient marketing. “Considering that a recent survey found that only 36% of small businesses invested in review marketing, it is safe to assume there is a lot of opportunity to focus in on this discipline.” (Source: “How to Build Brand Authority by Leveraging Online Reviews“).

Aligning with consumer behaviours and desire is a must for any business and now that practically all choices are made online before purchase, it seems rather silly for a business not to be on exactly the same page as consumers. Online is everything and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. Ethical reviews are a must and have huge multi-benefits to every business willing to take the step to be transparent and put their reputation on the line